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The problem with Qaddafi is not that he is a bastard but that he is not "our" bastard.

Reader comment on item: Assessing Qaddafi

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Aug 30, 2011 at 17:13

Dr. Pipes would make a great lawyer. In his article he does his best to show how bad and wicked Qaddafi was. He hasn't even hesitated to arouse our aesthetic feelings as to what is beautiful and what is ugly to corroborate his thesis, although frankly I see much uglier faces galore in power and luxury in many respectable countries. Be as it may, when things are painted in such thickly dark colours one is afraid even to doubt anything not to be immediately associated with the painted evil incarnate. And still I dare say that some doubt might do us no harm even at the risk of being branded as the Devil's advocate?

For anybody with some longer memory than the latest headlines it is clear that the West, especially the US , has a fairly consistent record of supporting dictators and mass murderers as bad or in many instances much worse than Qaddafi whenever it has served their interests. Let's recall from the long list Mao Tse Tung, Mobutu, Sukarto ,Pinochet, the Saudi royal despots, even Pol Pot etc. The friendly tyrannies were supported by the US irrespective of their record of genocide and abuse of human rights. So why insist so vocally on getting rid of Qaddafi and not -say- of the the ugly Saudi despot Abdullah ? Considering the mob of friendly tyrants Qaddafi's evil record can't be accepted as the real reason.

Admitting then the evil is no real concern for the American Realpolitik what is left is the obvious fact that Qaddafi didn't want to become their tyrant and a tool in their hands.Qaddafi defied openly America by refusing to join the United States Africa Command thus leaving a large area of Africa and the Mediterranean coast of Libya uncontrolled by NATO. Second, he invited the Chinese to Libya and concluded a strategic alliance with them. A report of the International Monetary Fund reveals that China needs just 5 years to overtake America's economy. The precondition is stability and oil. So the conclusion one must draw is that destabilizing and subordinating Libya to the US and depriving China of Libyan oil resources are more important to the US than anything else. After all the US has joint hands with much worse regimes than that of Qaddafi in the past.

Indeed, if one looks into the domestic politics of Qaddafi one is surprised to discover what the Western media never tells us. The money earned with oil didn't leave the country as it is the case with Saudi Arabia or Russia. It stayed at home and the results were visible everywhere. New cheap residential areas were built. Wages were very high with a nurse earning c. $ 1100 per month, gasoline cost almost nothing, bread was nearly free, newly married couples received $70 000 from the state to buy an apartment or a house and start a new life, education was free. Within the four decades of his reign which Dr. Pipes stigmatizes with so partisan zeal , Libya's population grew five times and due to Qaddafi's grand underground irrigation works desert areas were changed into flourishing villages. The country attracted plenty of workers not only from Africa but also from Eastern Europe. Small wonder that his successful and immensely popular socialist policy was a thorn in the eye of many in the West.

What is more, as most money stayed at home instead of being transferred to Western banks as is the case with the corrupt Egyptian elites, the CIA couldn't paralyze the security services and army by simply telling the Libyan officials they would lose the money on their bank accounts in the West if they do their job of repressing riots. And so demonstrations and protests could be staged unimpeded and Mubarak had no one to defend him in the hour of crisis. Corruption has played its dirty trick on him. But exactly this circumstance explains also the difference of behavior between the Egyptian services which betrayed Mubarak in order not to lose the money they hold in the West and the Libyan services which have no fat accounts in the Western banks while indeed they have plenty to lose if Qaddafi is overthrown and a pro-American puppet government is installed in Libya. In that case Qaddafi's' foul legacy" will be replaced by something much more fouler and deceitful. But nobody will care as we shall have at last our bastard in power in Libya while before we had a bastard which wasn't our bastard. And cynically speaking it is all that counts in today's Realpolitik.


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